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Currencies of Singapore Prior to Colonization
As early as the 8th century AD, Chinese merchants introduced the first documented currency of the Malay Peninsula. Since there was no official currency at the time, Singapore's merchants usually used Spanish and Mexican Dollars. Paper money began to appear in the peninsula in the 18th and 19th centuries, issued by private banks such as the Asiatic Banking Corporation, the Chartered Mercantile Bank of India, and The Shanghai Banking Corporation.
Singapore's Currency as a Colony
As a British colony, Singapore began using the Straits Dollar in 1845. The Straits Dollar was the colony's official currency for nearly a century until it was replaced by the Malayan Dollar in 1939, with a brief discontinuation during the Japanese occupation. In 1953, the Malayan Dollar was replaced by the Malaya and British Borneo Dollar.
Currency of Independent Singapore
Singapore became an independent nation known as the Republic of Singapore in 1965. The new country established the Board of Commissioners of Currency, which introduced the Singapore Dollar, with the first banknote series issued in 1967. These notes were known as 'Orchid' notes and were exchangeable with the Malaysian Dollar at par until 1973. The currency was initially pegged to the British Pound at a rate of 60 SGD to 7 GBP. The currency re-pegged to the US Dollar and then to a weighted basket of currencies. In 1985, the Singapore Dollar adopted a market oriented approach and was allowed to float, although it was still closely monitored. In 2002, the Board of Commissioners of Currency was disbanded, and the functions of the board were given to the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
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